• Institute of Biology and Immunology of Reproduction
      "Acad. Kiril Bratanov"

      • Isolation and characterization of human skin stem cells

        Project: Isolation and characterization of human skin stem cells: new potential targets for treatment of non-melanoma skin tumors (2008 – 2011)


        Professor Ivan Kehayov, Institute of Biology and Immunology of Reproduction äcad.K.Bratanov”

        Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia, Bulgaria


        prof.S.Kyurkchiev, assoc.prof. M.Murdjeva, assoc.prof. D.Kyurkchiev, E.Todorova, MD, PhD, I.Bochev, PhD

        Technician: P.Popova

        Dr. Anna Mandinova – Harvard Medical School, USA

        Dr. Vihren Kolev - Harvard Medical School, USA


        In 2008 the Department of Molecular Immunology successfully applied and received a grant from the IDEAS Competition of the National Fund for Research with a project entitled “ISOLATION AND CHARACTERIZATION OF HUMAN SKIN STEM CELLS: NEW PTOTENTIAL TARGETS FOR TREATMENT OF NON-MELANOMA SKIN TUMORS”.



        Non-melanioma skin tumors including squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) represent over 40% of all malignant diseases and it is one of the most widely spread human tumors. Histology, phenotype and cariotype analisys demonstrate the heterogenous nature of SCCs which is supposed to be due on their clinal nature.

        Identification and characterization of tumor stem cells is a necessary step to monitor the effect of the existing therapeutic drugs as well as the development of new therapeutic means which should be specifically targetted to the population of the tumor stem cells. Antiegns of signal patghways expressed in the tumour mass might be an appropriate therapeutic traget in case that these antigens are expressed by the subpopualtion of specific cells in the squamous cell carcinoma.

        Our working hypothesis is that both normal and tumor stem keratinocytes are of equal importance for the fundametal studies as well as for clinical application. Development of an approach to separate the population of stem cells from both normal skin and/or skin carcinomas is of utmost importance.

        Major research tasks of this project are: a) development and implication of suitable methods for isolation and cultivation of normal keratinocytes, transformed keratinocytes and epidermal stem cells; b). identification of specifir protein markers, specific to normal or tumor stem cells; c). production of specific antibodiesd for identification of normal and/ór tumor stem cells.

        Task 1. Isolation and continous cultivation of normal human keratinocytes and epidermal keratinocyte stem cells from adult skin (M.Murdjeva, A.Mandinova).

        Task 2. Identiofication of specific protein markers for normal and/ot tumor stem cells (A.Mandinova).

        Task 3. Production oof specific antibodies suitable for identification of native no0rmal and/or tumor stem cells (I.Kehayov, S.Kyurkchiev).

        Task 4. Studies on the possibilities to use the antibodies produced for identification of normal and/or tumor stem cells.


                                                                                                      Project coordinator:

                                                                                                                                         prof. I. Kehayov

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